Tag Archives: Love

I am constantly reflecting and all the joys and sorrows of last year, trying to drag out another lesson to make all the blood, sweat and tears seem worth it. About this time last year I was holed up in an old convent in Cornwall, wondering why on earth I’d thought a silent retreat was a good idea. It was one of the toughest weeks of my life - right up there after the death of Grandparents but slightly before that one week when I was 15 and convinced that all my hair was falling out and I'd be completely bald by 17 (THE TEARS).

But, je ne regrette rien. Especially after I read this and realised why it had been much harder than I'd expected:

In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding; no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain, no books to distract, just me—naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken—nothing. It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something.” Henri Nouwen

In that week of solitude I was stripped of scaffolding - no friends to talk to, no social media to update, no work to attend, no music to sing and dance along to and no books to transport me to far away lands. I didn’t have to check in with my people and see how their week was going, I didn't even have to decide what to cook. All that was left was the truth of who I was without all those things to validate my worthiness of life/time/attention/love or distract me from the lack of it.

Naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived and broken.

And yet, I've realised that that place of nothingness can be the birthplace of freedom. Because in that place, God holds a banner over us for all the world to see proclaiming that we are loved and we are valued - despite all things we would rather hide and all the things we are too ashamed to even acknowledge.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, we can do to earn God's love or make God love us more - not pray our way there, not read our Bible more, not attend church more, not go to The Gambia and not even give away our very last Rolo. You are worthy, simply for being you.

Without realising, I'd let a notion of earning worthiness creep in and set conditions around something that has always been extravagantly wild and free. Who I am without my scaffolding is enough. Who you are without your scaffolding is enough. Nothing from your past can change that, nothing in your future can steal that; not our fears for today or our worries about tomorrow. Whether we are high above the sky, in the deepest ocean or on a silent retreat, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus.

Being rooted and grounded in God's unwavering love for us in our place of nothingness can give us the power and confidence to live free from fear - of the judgement of others, of tomorrow, of the valley of the shadow of death, of loneliness, of looking like a fool and yes, free of even the fear of Brexit. Life in all its fullness transforming nothingness into a place of JOY - you know the place - beautiful sunrises over the mountains, a fridge full of lemon tart (made with fairtrade lemons and no palm oil, obvs and dancing for joy along to your favourite 90s pop and 00s indie rock songs.

I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your heart as you trust in him. May you be rooted and grounded in the soil of God's marvellous love. And I pray that you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep God's love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great we will never fully understand it.


By Jessica Hagy
By Jessica Hagy
This simple diagram has led me to so much fun and gotten me in so much trouble.
I love comfort. I love not having to embrace the difficult, the stressful and the uncertain. And yet…
Life outside my comfort zone has taught me things I couldn’t have learned any other way. Life outside my comfort zone has developed my character and helped me to grow in faith and hope and love.
Life outside of our comfort zone is both exciting and terrifying. There’s always the possibility of failure with a side plate of embarrassment and wounded pride. But there's also adventure beyond anything we could imagine.
Ever been asked what you would do if money were no object? Apparently, retire tomorrow and travel the world with my friends is not the response people are after. But maybe the question is too narrow – it assumes our only limiting factor is finance. Perhaps a better question would be: what would you do if you trusted even just a little bit more in the goodness, faithfulness and love of God? What would you be brave enough to attempt?
Would we be bolder? More adventurous? More generous? More loving? More forgiving? More hopeful? Would we find it easier to ignore the lies of doubt, fear and worry? Would we be more willing to push the boundaries of our comfort zone?
Jesus said he came to give us life in all its fullness. A fullness which empowers us to make decisions based on faith and not fear. Faith that God loves us beyond our understanding and there's nothing that can separate us from his love. Faith that God is with us wherever we go - whether we're riding the wings of the morning, going into a difficult situation or even to The Gambia. Faith that God is good all the time, and all the time God is good - whether everything goes well or whether we have to rise from the ashes.


Confession: This life outside the comfort zone is not the life I usually live - I like comfort, did I mention that already? Though occasionally, I dare greatly enough to start a chain reaction that means I have no choice but to leave my Empire of Comfort and embrace the terrifying, exciting, uncertain and unknown. Case in point: I've waved a fond farewell  to my colleagues and have quit my job with no plan  more detailed than 'travel/volunteer in the general Africa or Asia area.' There’s not much about this that sits in my comfort zone.
I keep being told I’m brave, I don’t know about that – brave, foolish, there’s a fine line between the two and given that it feels like I’ve set my life on fire and at least five times a week day hour I ask God what I’ve done and why I couldn’t be content to just be normal, it certainly doesn’t feel brave. Rachel the wild hippy with flowers in her hair would be disappointed at my inability to embrace this unknown. So here I am, currently navigating the outer reaches of my comfort zone – if anyone wants to come join me YOU’RE MORE THAN WELCOME - I have drinks, food and an epic playlist. The sunrises are amazing and the night skies are devastatingly beautiful. And I have a small idea of where we might end up. Everyone but my Nan and sister will love it!
Sometimes I make myself sick because the very fact that I've written this post means I need to go out be be braver than I want to be. Well done Rach.
What would you do if you trusted even just a little more in the goodness, faithfulness and love of God? What would you be brave enough to attempt? Dare greatly team.

I collected conkers yesterday, which can only mean one thing - summer really is over. Did you have a good one?
Me? Mine was pretty amaze dot com. I danced the night away at four weddings and climbed a mountain.img_20160926_230918
I love seeing my friends so happy and in love. I love how much it makes everyone else happy. I love celebrating with them. I love dancing. I love good food. I love open bars. And I love cake. Good times. I am not in favour, however, of the All the Single Ladies Bouquet Toss. Women can have jobs and vote now and everything. 
I do however love new places and seeing new ways of living. I like to think I love experiencing new cultures but actually I think I love knowing I’ve experienced life in a different culture more than actually having to navigate how different cultures work.
Question of the summer: What will you do with your one wild life?
Listening to some music on the mountain and this one lyric resounded in my head for hours – what will you do with your one wild life?
There I was, on an actual real live mountain, having trekked up beyond the clouds, camping with no running water or electricity, on as near an actual wild adventure as I’ve ever been and all I could think about was how to make my life more wild.
I’m not talking crazy hedonistic wild, or even far out once in a lifetime adventure kinda wild. But the unpredictable, whimsical, running free, overflowing, joyful wild of our choice to live unconventionally building the kingdom and loving more.

“Living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy and the kind of things that love does is something most people plan to do, but along the way they just kind of forget. Their dreams become one of those "we'll go there next time" deferrals. The sad thing is, for many there is no "next time" because passing on the chance to cross over is an overall attitude toward life." Bob Goff

What will you do with your one wild life?
Play it safe? Chase waterfalls? Stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to? Have it your way or nothing it all? Or take that risk, start the journey up the mountain? Live a wild life full of whimsy?
In the dull moments of work I used to text my friend, “Maybe we’re wasting our young years.” Now I no longer think about the young years (a sign of my increasing wisdom with each birthday I'm sure) but instead  I wonder what to do with the time that is given to us.

I want to go barefoot because it’s holy ground; I want to be running because time is short and none of us has as much runway as we think we do; and I want it to be a fight because that’s where we can make a difference. That’s what love does.” Bob Goff


...that make you smile...
  • People wearing sunglasses. On the tube. In winter – correct me if I'm wrong but there’s no sun under the ground. And no sun in winter (give or take a couple of hours here or there). So take off your sunglasses. Unless you’re Cyclops. If you’re Cyclops you should keep them on.
  • Getting the front seat at the top of the bus.
  • Tea and cake and friends – goes without saying really.
  • Beating your flatmates home in the ‘I’m-gonna -prove-that-this-mode-of-transportation-is-quicker-than-yours’ race. Bus for the win!
  • Seeing London lit up at night as I go across Waterloo Bridge on my way home after work (sitting on the top deck at the front of course)
  • Watching people run for the bus – not that I would ever do this, especially not if I were racing my flatmates home.
  • Seeing someone smile when they read a text/email.
  • Memories of New Zealand and South Africa – LOVE to the YWAM crew.

...that make you cry...
  • Being stuck behind a bunch of school kids on the tube escalator – Move. Out. Of. My. Way. Before. I. Kill. You.
  • Hauntingly Sad Sad Music.
  • Meeting a homeless man, shivering in the freezing cold and being unable to solve his problems.
  • Having a doorman tell me I don’t look 19, look at my driver’s licence and then say “Really?” when he works out how old I am, shrug his shoulders and let me in.
  • Meeting a man who had served as a Gurkha for 15 years but having been in England for 2 years is now homeless and sleeping rough.
  • People overwhelmed to tears with relief and gratitude when handed food at a foodbank.
  • The girls in Perspex heels, long coats and lots of makeup who smoke outside the table dancing club round the corner.
  • Going to the cupboard for the last piece of cake, only to realise that you ate it yesterday and in keeping with the trying-to-be-a-healthy-house-policy there are no sweet things other than raisins *sigh*


...that make you laugh...

  • Having an ambiguous ethnicity. No, I am not Chinese, Nepali or Brazilian (genuine questions I have been asked by three different people in the last few weeks).
  • London 2012. What. A. Joke. Super excited for the athletics though. 
  • Watching someone jump to get on the tube, only to get their rucksack stuck outside. 
  • Public transport in general.
  • The Usain Bolt virgin media ads – they’re just too good. Five points to whoever came up with those.
  • My flatmates.